Despite India-Pakistan tension, cross-border bus service resumes in Kashmir

Srinagar, February 25 (The Statesman): Not a single newly registered passenger from the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) traveled to Poonch in Jammu division on Monday when the cross-Line of Control (LoC) bus service resumed amid tension between India and Pakistan. The weekly LoC bus service was suspended following the 14 February Pulwama terror attack in which 44 CRPF personnel were killed.

A total number of 22 passengers traveled through the two cross-LoC travel points at Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch and Salamabad in Uri of Kashmir on Monday afternoon.

Reports said five passengers traveled from Srinagar to Salamabad for their onward journey to PoK.

A total number of 17 passengers were exchanged at Chakan-da-Bagh point but not a single fresh traveler came from PoK. Of the 17, it is learnt, only two fresh passengers from Jammu and Kashmir went to PoK from this LoC point.

Eleven PoK residents held up in Poonch due to suspension of the bus service traveled back today, while four Indian nationals returned home from PoK.

Officials said the gates at Chakan-da-Bagh were opened at 1.10 pm only for eight minutes to exchange the 17 passengers.

Trade between two sides of the LoC was resumed last week when trucks from here, mostly carrying tomatoes, went to PoK. According to reports, Pakistan was facing acute shortage of tomatoes as a result of which its price skyrocketed to Rs 160 per kg.

The two barter trade centres open for four days between Tuesday and Friday.
However, Pakistan troops were almost every day targeting the civilian areas of Poonch and Rajouri with mortars.

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